In a parting blow before departing the Senate, Republican Ben Sasse says he’s’sad’ for ‘needy and desperate’ Trump.
Outgoing Republican Sen. Ben Sasse said he’s “sorry” for outgoing President Donald Trump before leaving the Senate, but also complimenting Trump’s conservative court picks.
“I’m just sad for him as a human because obviously there’s a lot of complicated stuff going on in that soul,” Sasse said of Trump, according to the Omaha World-Herald. “On a human level, I’m sorry for him to be so needy and desperate.”
Ben Sasse went on to say that, on a policy level, “I’ve always admired how he kept his word to the judges… As a result, we were able to collaborate closely on judges.”
Ben Sasse formally resigned from the Senate on Sunday to become the University of Florida’s next president. The Nebraskan, a diehard conservative, collaborated with the Trump administration on a variety of policy matters. Sasse, on the other hand, never connected with Trump on a personal basis, regularly criticizing the candidate and then president in a tumultuous relationship that resulted in Sasse’s vote to convict Trump for instigating the Capitol riot.
“The president repeated these lies when summoning his crowd — parts of which were widely known to be violent — to Capitol Hill to intimidate Vice President Pence and Congress into not fulfilling our constitutional duties,” Sasse said in a statement after voting to convict Trump along with six other Republicans.
“Those lies had consequences, putting the vice president’s life in risk and pushing us dangerously close to a deadly constitutional crisis.”
Trump has often chastised Sasse, notably in 2016 when he said the Nebraska senator looked “more like a gym rat than a United States senator.” After the senator’s conviction vote, allies of the former president in the Nebraska Republican Party rushed to formally condemn him. Trump’s spokespeople did not immediately reply to Insider’s request for comment.
Sasse told the World-Herald that, in addition to working with Trump to confirm conservative judges, including three Supreme Court justices, he is proud of his work on the Senate Intelligence Committee and his role in the formation of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, a bipartisan panel tasked with advising on a strategy to thwart major cyber attacks.
Sasse’s retirement creates a temporary void in the tightly divided Senate. Republican Gov. Jim Pillen, who was sworn in last week, will now nominate someone to finish out Sasse’s tenure.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear that he wants now-former Gov. Pete Ricketts to visit Washington. Ricketts’ family owns the Chicago Cubs and made a fortune in financial services. Ricketts is also a close friend of Pillen, who was his preferred replacement.
Alos Ricketts unsuccessfully ran for the Senate in 2006, losing to then-Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson. Ricketts eventually restarted his political career as a two-term governor, leveraging his personal fortune to advance his preferred causes and candidates.
The selection of Sasse to lead the University of Florida was not without controversy.
His only prior experience as a university president was as president of Midland University, a small, private Lutheran university in Fremont, Nebraska with over 1,600 students. In comparison, Florida has nearly 60,000 students enrolled.